Local News

Winston-Salem Paying Wrongfully Convicted Inmate $1.6M

Posted February 19, 2007
Updated February 20, 2007

— The city of Winston-Salem will pay more than $1.6 million to a wrongfully convicted inmate cleared by DNA evidence.

The City Council announced the settlement Monday night at its regularly scheduled meeting.

Darryl Hunt spent 18 years in prison for the 1984 stabbing death of Deborah Sykes, a Winston-Salem woman who was raped and killed while walking to work downtown.

He was released in 2003, and Gov. Mike Easley pardoned him in 2004 after DNA testing identified another man, Willard Brown, in the case.

Hunt would receive about $90,000 for each year he spent in prison.

The state has paid Hunt $358,545 in restitution for being wrongfully jailed. By law, Hunt had three years to file a lawsuit after being exonerated.

Last week, Mayor Allen Joines said Hunt had settled with the city rather than file a civil rights lawsuit. The city had initially offered $500,000. Hunt's attorneys had asked for $2.6 million.

Hunt now lives in Winston-Salem and is part of a nonprofit organization called the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, which according to its Web site, aims to educate the public about flaws in the criminal justice system and to advocate for those wrongfully jailed as a result of those flaws.

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  • mom2threecld Feb 20, 2007

    mugostout, that is a pretty narrowminded comment. it doesn't mean he had any record before. he probably fit the profile and that was it. kinda like saying a 41 year old male with gray hair....vague. he was probably a good scape goat and better not to leave a crime unsolved to the uniforms

  • have patience Feb 20, 2007

    To "mugofstout", he could have been a man, with no criminal history, walking down the road and put in a line up and had the finger pointed at him. You can go to the NC department of corrections web site and put his name in under offender search. No matches found. So he didn't have a criminal record. God forbid you are ever charged with a crime that you didn't commit regardless of how old you are now.

  • cbhopper122859 Feb 20, 2007

    I am happy he was paid for his time. Not happy he served time.Mr Nifong were you the DA in this case.I hope you can put your life back together.God Bless.

  • narck9 Feb 20, 2007

    I am sure the money will go to good use.

  • mugofstout Feb 20, 2007

    And just what was he innocent of? If he was pulled in by our honest, hardworking LEO's, he must have a had a record already. Stay out of the laws eye, and it will not be looking at you. i may be wrong, but I have lived forty one years with not one charge, seems to me he must have bea habitual offender to be looked at. And if he had got off on other charges, it was juast a matter of time until he was sent to prison for something.

  • In search of justice Feb 20, 2007

    For those inquiring minds of how all of this unravelled, check out this unbiased site:


    Yes, the local police did massively error and it only mushroomed from that point. After the local police raked him over the coals, the SBI did, then the DA's office,then the angry and racially divided public, etc. But don't take my word for it, check out the above web-site;it speaks for itself. Just the facts as so many of us want.

  • snugglebug Feb 20, 2007

    $1.6 million dollars is not worth 18 years of life. I just hope hat he can get passed this and all the steroetypes that will follow him!

  • spiritwarriorwoman Feb 20, 2007

    Praying for wisdom with the money and total success in his future.
    God bless.
    Rev. RB

  • My2centsworth Feb 20, 2007

    I really have not been following this case but I am curious why the City of Winston - Salem is paying him.

    I understand the case was investigated by Winston - Salem Police but the case would have been tried in a County Court and all criminal cases are State of North Carolina VS _________.

    Seems that the people of the state would be liable, and he has already received compensation from the state. I can only see the city being liable if the police made a gross error in their investigation (other than i.d.ing the wrong person) or outright lied.

  • glsnapp Feb 20, 2007

    Way to go !!! So glad he is able to live his life now.